Redfern Out as Ohio Democratic Party Chair, GOP Picks Up State House Seats

Chris Redfern addresses Democrats after the party's defeat. (Photo: Sarah Ingles)
Chris Redfern addresses Democrats after the party's defeat. (Photo: Sarah Ingles)
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Chris Redfern has represented the Port Clinton area twice. He had been re-elected in 2012 after being term limited out of the seat in he’d held since 1999. And in this election, Redfern wasn’t just running for re-election – he was also running the Ohio Democratic Party as its chairman.

“We always knew it was going to be a tough race," Redfern said. "But we get up tomorrow and we get back to work.”

A few hours later, Redfern announced he would be resigning as party chair in mid-December.

But Redfern won’t be back at work in the General Assembly in January. He lost his seat by almost 2.5 percent to Tea Party-backed Republican Steve Kraus.

Two other Democratic representatives were ousted by Republicans. In Columbiana County, Nick Barborak lost to Tim Ginter, and east of Dayton, Roland Winburn fell to Jeff Rezabek.

Two open seats that had been occupied by Democrats went Republican. Nathan Manning, son of Republican state Sen. Gayle Manning, won in Lorain County, and Jonathan Dever took the seat held by Connie Pillich, who couldn’t run for re-election because she was the Democratic nominee for state treasurer.

That makes the balance in the Ohio House 65 to 34 in favor of the Republicans -- one vote shy of the supermajority needed to pass legislation that would take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature, effectively making it impossible to put before voters in a referendum.

Three women with family connections will join the Ohio House at the beginning of the year. Democrat Emilia Sykes of Akron takes her father Vernon Sykes’ seat, Michele Lepore Hagan of Youngstown will replace her husband Bob Hagan. And Sarah Latourette of Geauga County, the daughter of former US Congressman Steve Latourette, was elected as well.

There were no flips among the 17 seats that were up in the Ohio Senate, where Republicans will continue to outnumber Democrats 2 to 1.

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